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All Explainer Articles


Image caption: California has tried to pass single-payer health plans before. Is 2022 the year it happens?
Single-Payer Healthcare: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Single-payer healthcare may be the most-discussed but least-understood form of medical coverage. Here’s what you need to know as California considers a new bill for publicly funded universal insurance.

Image caption: New Year's Day has been a time for celebration for at least 4,000 years.
Happy New Year, Explained
New Year's celebrations have been around as long as civilization itself. Here's how they started and how California marks the New Year today.

Image caption: California is taking at least small steps to reform the county sheriffs system.
The Trouble With Sheriffs
Though they are elected officials, county sheriffs have less accountability than any other law enforcement officials. Here's why, and what California is doing about it.

Image caption: SB 35 aims to make it easier for developers to build projects that include significant amounts of affordable housing units.
SB35, California’s Key Affordable Housing Law, Explained
SB 35 is one of California’s most important affordable housing laws. Here’s what it does, and a look at how well it’s working.

Image caption: Why are homicides on the rise in California? There are several plausible theories.
What Drove Homicide Rates Up?
California homicide spiked by 31 percent in 2020. The shocking increase has continued into 2021. Here are several theories that attempt to explain the state’s suddenly rising murder rate.

Image caption: Despite a new law, leaf blowers may not be going away anytime soon.
Is California’s New Leaf Blower Ban Really a Ban?
California has a new law to ban leaf blowers, which both annoy neighbors and pollute the air. Here’s why the law might not do enough, explained.

Image caption: California continues to work on legislation that would make voting easier.
Voting Rites
California keeps on taking legislative steps that will keep it ranked in the top 10 of voter-friendly states.

Image caption: More than one in 20 California students attend school in Santa Cruz County.
Santa Cruz County’s School System, Explained
Santa Cruz County has more than 40,000 students enrolled in its 10 school districts, about 6 percent of all students in the state. Here’s how the school system works, and how it’s grown since its earliest days.

Image caption: Access to abortion in California is limited in many areas, though state laws protect a woman’s right to choose.
Abortion Rights in California, Explained
California has historically been ahead of the rest of the country in expanding the legal right to abortion services. Here’s what state laws say today, and how we got here.

Image caption: There are more than 300 community service districts in California.
Community Services Districts, Explained
Community service districts can do most anything a city government can do. Here’s how they work and how to start one.

Image caption: Economists say that inflation is 2021 is the direct result of the pandemic.
How Bad Is Inflation, and How Can It Be Stopped?
Inflation is on the rise, with prices in some parts of California their highest in 13 years. Here’s what caused this round of inflation, and how can it be stopped.

Image caption: A new California law will lower local speed limits and—advocates hope—reduce traffic fatalities.
Can Traffic Fatalities Be Cut to Zero? Here’s How California is Trying
A new California law to lower speed limits, AB 43, is part of an overall effort, called ‘Vision Zero,’ to eliminate traffic deaths completely. Here’s what the law does, and why it can make a difference.

Image caption: Mosquitos kill about 725,000 people every year, worldwide.
Taking a Bite Out of the Mosquito Population
The pesky mosquito can be deadly as well as annoying. Here’s how local governments in California have been waging war on mosquitoes for more than a century.

Image caption:
Dungeness Season Delays, Explained
Despite myriad obstacles, Dungeness crab remains one of the most valuable commercial fisheries in California. Here’s how it works.

Image caption: Californians continue to set clocks back every fall, and ahead each spring.
Daylight Saving Time, Explained
After a 2018 vote authorizing the state legislature to make daylight saving time year-round, Californians are still changing their clocks twice per year. How did we get here?

Image caption: Californians have a lengthy history of getting involved in the civic affairs that govern their daily lives.
California’s History of Civic Engagement, Explained
California’s history of people getting directly involved in the affairs of government dates back more than a century, but it has sometimes been coopted by business and other interests.

Image caption: There's too much information these days. But explanatory reporting can help.
What Makes a News Article an ‘Explainer,’ Anyway?
In an era of information overload, here’s how a rising form of journalism helps explain it all for you, and why California Local publishes ‘explanatory’ reporting.

Image caption: RCDs look after the land, whether it’s used for grazing, growing, or getting out into nature.
California Dirt
What do resource conservation districts protect? Pretty much everything that’s worth saving.

Image caption: Local cities and counties struggle to regulate the exploding short-term rental industry.
Short-Term Losses
The short-term or ‘vacation’ rental industry spawns hundreds of horror stories and damages the housing market, but governments struggle with how to bring it under control.

Image caption: There are still 27 oil platforms off the California coastline.
Offshore Oil Drilling in California Waters, Explained
Why is California still experiencing offshore oil spills half-a-century after the catastrophic Santa Barbara disaster? The answer is found in the state’s longtime, close relationship with the oil business.

EXPLAINER

Long form articles which explain how something works, or provide context or background information about a current issue or topic.

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